Part 1 of this blog series analyzed the positive impressions from my attendance of the AribaLIVE 2012 user event. Still, while it might appear that Ariba is firing on all cylinders, as is typically the case, Ariba is not all things to all people and no company is without issues. Thus this post will discuss some challenges and related rooms for improvement.
SAP and Ariba apparently have good poker faces, since during their recent user events, AribaLIVE 2012 and SAPPHIRE NOW 2012, there was no inkling of this development. At first glance, this is a good fit, as a plethora of large SAP customers use both Ariba Network and Ariba’s procurement, sourcing, contract management, e-invoicing, etc. software (in fact, in the early 2000s, the name Ariba was taboo at SAP’s Waldorf HQ, and Ariba was a competitor that SAP loved to hate). Read the rest of this entry »
It was interesting and perhaps telling that on the so-called “Super Tuesday” on March 6, 2012, when the Republican (GOP) presidential candidates were duking it out in 10 US states, two once-fierce competitors in the spare parts planning & optimization (SPP/O) space decided to merge instead of continuing to bludgeon each other. Indeed, Servigistics and MCA Solutions have competed for virtually every major deal in the space since their inceptions over a decade ago.
The NY Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox or LA Lakers vs. Boston Celtics sports rivalry analogies could describe the software rivalry here: there was never any love lost in the process, and the companies and their staffers were monitoring each other keenly (and crowing over each other’s occasional misfortunes or missteps).
I recently published a TEC article about my attendance of Emptoris’ Empower 2011 user conference this past fall. What follows now is my deep-dive interview with Terrence Curley, Senior Vice President (SVP) of Product Strategy and Development at Emptoris, with the idea of developing some of the main messages from the conference.
My recent post Why don’t Potential Benefits of Spend Analysis Come by Easily? described typical challenges of comprehensive spend management solutions. On one hand, there are difficulties associated with massive spend data acquisition and subsequent classification and enrichment, and on the other hand, with presentation and analysis when done using rigid business intelligence (BI) tools over predefined database schemas. I analyzed some examples of automated spend analysis process improvements via expert systems and search engines, but they might also come with different shortcomings.
I concluded my post with hints of some solutions that leverage dynamic on-demand databases and easy-to-use Google-like analytic tools (dashboards) to overcome many of the challenges that previous generation spend analysis and data classification solutions fail to address.
For years (if not decades) now, but especially during tough economic times, companies have been trying to better analyze their enterprise spend over their comprehensive pools of sourcing categories (and individual items and commodities within these categories) and suppliers.
The idea here is to find room for improvement and savings by pinpointing strategic centralized (consolidated) procurement opportunities for a better negotiating power, discovering better (and worse) performing contracts and their individual terms and clauses, by eliminating costly maverick spending, and by dealing only with the best and most reliable suppliers. For more information, see my previous blog series entitled “Are Spend Management (or SRM) apps Suited for the Mid-market?” and TEC’s article entitled “Thou Shalt Manage (and Cherish) Thy (Best) Suppliers.”
While many companies have experienced significant benefits and improvements by deploying spend analysis solutions from specialists such as Ariba, BravoSolution, Emptoris, Oracle, Proactis, SAP, SAS, and Zycus, those benefits do not come by easily or cheaply. Namely, every comprehensive spend analysis implementation is, in fact, an implementation of a sophisticated business intelligence (BI) solution.
My recent article entitled “Why Should Enterprises Manage their Contracts Closely?” analyzed the importance of enterprise-wide contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions and stated that many enterprises still use inappropriate makeshift tools to manage their important contractual terms and conditions. The article concluded with the fact that enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems handle transactional details of an organization whereas CLM systems handle contract and commitment management. In other words, there is room for both systems in an organization to work in tandem.
My recent series about the merger of JDA Software and i2 Technologies raised the issue whether any independent software vendor (ISV) can at the same time be a successful professional service provider (even without considering a possible conflict with its service provider partners). Coincidentally or not, in early October Ariba sent a message to the market that its focus going forward will be on becoming a trading partner network provider with its on-demand software at the core to facilitate trading transactions.
What happened? Accenture acquired the sourcing services and business process outsourcing (BPO) business from Ariba for a reported US$51 million price tag (after scrutinizing Ariba’s Form 8K filing with the US SEC, it appears that the actual net purchase price was in the neighborhood of US$40 million). This transaction involved approximately 160 people operating in about 20 countries with notable category expertise, sourcing process expertise, and strategic sourcing execution expertise.
Part 1 of this blog series introduced PROACTIS, a UK- and US-based specialist vendor of spend control and e-procurement solutions with accredited partners worldwide. I had the chance to meet the company during my attendance of UNIT4’s UK user event in early 2010, where PROACTIS was an exhibiting partner.
The article then expanded on the company’s history, its procure-to-pay product offering, customers, and partners. Part 2 will analyze recent events, starting with the latest product developments.
Part 1 of this blog series talked about my impressions following an upbeat and constructive business update meeting at Emptoris’ headquarters. Under its new investors’ wing, with a new customer-focused CEO, and with the former Click Commerce’s contract and service management (CSM) business as a new major capability, Emptoris has charted a new course recently.
Good news is scarce these days across the board, and I am always keen on reporting on rare bullish enterprise applications businesses, especially if the company is in my neck of woods. Recently, I had an upbeat and constructive business update meeting in person at Emptoris’ headquarters.
The Burlington, Massachusetts, US-based company was founded in 1999 as a strategic sourcing software company, pioneering the use of optimization in strategic sourcing of both direct and indirect materials.
Part 1 of this blog series outlined Epicor 9 (a.k.a., Epicor ERP [evaluate this product]), Epicor Software’s next-generation converged product suite. A similar feat is yet to be accomplished even by mighty Oracle within Oracle Fusion Applications.
The article also discussed Epicor’s accompanying “protect, extend, and converge” strategy for providing customers with a migration path choice at their own timetable and convenience. The article then went on to dig deeper and explain a number of enabling technologies and concepts within Epicor 9, starting with Epicor BPM (Business Process Management).
Part 2 then analyzed the major enabling concepts and technologies within the product, such as Epicor ICE (Internet Component Environment) 2.0 Business Architecture, which is based on Epicor TrueSOA™ and includes the Epicor Everywhere Framework™. The article also dug deeper into the suite’s built-in business intelligence (BI) and enterprise performance management (EPM) capabilities.
Part 3 of this blog series analyzes further unconventional and nifty tools and technologies within Epicor 9, and concludes the series with some insights into the product’s future enhancements. Read the rest of this entry »
The old adage “he who lives by the sword will die by the sword” might have been best witnessed in the life and demise of erstwhile public software company Click Commerce based in Chicago, Illinois (US). With its roots in the partner relationship management (PRM) or demand channel (chain) management (DCM) space, the company had first gobbled up a number of struggling PRM/DCM peers in the early 2000s. These mergers coincided with a time when there was a growing realization that the niche PRM market was not sustainable on its own.
Namely, the pundits saw the possible PRM future only as a part of a broader customer relationship management (CRM) suite or an even broader enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite. Following up on these PRM acquisitions and some internal development of the quote-to-order (Q2O), content management, and master data management (MDM)/product information management (PIM) capabilities, Click Commerce eventually rounded out its Channel Management division sometime in 2005. Read the rest of this entry »
My previous blog entry about procurement commandments in a down economy also made me think about whether there are different priorities for the chief procurement officer (CPO) during prosperous economic times. Or, how different are (or should be) the CPO’s strategies in good versus bad times?
Well, the CPO’s fundamental objectives do not change: procure the physical goods and services needed by the company at the best possible mix of price and performance (non-price features). The focus can shift at times from operational streamlining to new product introduction (NPI) to supplier rationalization.
In lean times, however, there will be pressure to do even more with less, postpone large expenditures, and get additional concessions from suppliers (e.g., better shipping rates, rebates, discounts, or better payment terms, etc.). Amid all of this, the CPOs must provide high-quality service guidelines to their employees to encourage the proper use of systems and policies, and to reduce maverick purchasing practices. Read the rest of this entry »
As is the case with white papers, vendors’ press releases (PR) can range from blatant bragging about the “latest-and-greatest” product capabilities (and other marketing “fluff”) to tastefully asserting competence and educating the market about specific issues.
One example of the latter would be Emptoris‘ April 2008 PR on the findings of a panel of financial and procurement experts that have worked and consulted with leading Fortune 1000 companies. These experts offered their advice to chief procurement officers (CPOs) on actions to take to weather, and even excel in, a potentially uncertain economic environment.
The expert panel participated in a brainstorming session with leading financial, technology and procurement consultants to offer a list of immediate and intermediate steps that companies can take to gain greater control over spending and effectively reduce costs. Read the rest of this entry »